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Published: 2010-02-24 00:00:00

Fish for the future is the theme of this year’s Seaweek, which will feature a series of free lectures and beach clean-ups in the Waikato.

The "fish for the future" theme – or "tiakina nga tupuranga whakaheke" in te reo - has been chosen to raise awareness of the role of fish in healthy oceans.

"The theme is designed to stimulate discussion about what sustainable fishing means for us as New Zealanders," said Environment Waikato’s Sam Stephens, the Waikato coordinator of Seaweek which will officially run from 7-14 March.

"Fishing is something that our country’s various cultures appreciate greatly and want to keep on enjoying. During Seaweek there’ll be an opportunity to learn more about what we can do to preserve fish stocks."

Mr Stephens said Seaweek’s host organization, the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE), has opted for a more challenging series of themes over the next five years to facilitate greater learning about the marine environment.

A series of free evening lectures at the University of Waikato will begin in the week leading up to Seaweek. The lectures will cover a range of coastal topics from the importance of our harbours as fish nurseries to experts sharing their first hand experiences of the devastation caused by tsunamis across the globe.

"The lectures are a great opportunity for the people of the Waikato to hear directly from the experts on a range of topical issues," said Mr Stephens.

Meanwhile in Raglan, the Whaingaroa Community and Environment Day, which includes the annual recycled raft race, will be hosted by Xtreme Waste, Raglan Community House, and the Whaingaroa Environment Centre. Activities will run from 10:30am till 3pm on Saturday 6 March at the Te Kopua Domain. Besides the raft race, activities will include a sand castle competition, music, drama, and various workshops.

Also, Environment Waikato and Xtreme Waste are teaming up with schools across the region again this year to run a series of beach clean-ups as a practical way of protecting the region’s precious coastal marine areas. It will involve schools on both coasts gathering up litter and doing waste audits to see where the rubbish is coming from.

"We’re aiming to provide people with the information they need to help care for our beautiful beaches and protect the marine life in our region, such as the endangered Maui dolphin," said Mr Stephens.

"Rubbish can kill dolphins and other marine life. We all need to better respect the marine environment so we can enjoy it and keep it safe for people and sea life," said Mr Stephens.

More information is available from www.ew.govt.nz/Seaweek2010

The following lectures will be held from 7-8pm at AG.30, Gate 8 (off Hillcrest Road), University of Waikato, Hamilton:

Tuesday 2 March: Juvenile coastal fish and their nursery habitats.

Thursday 4 March: Lessons learnt from two decades of tsunami field surveys.

Tuesday 9 March: Sea level on the move?

Thursday 11 March: Increasing coastal community resilience

Other events/activities:

Saturday 6 March : Whaingaroa Community and Environment Day, Kopua Domain , Raglan, 10:30am-3pm.

A Coromandel FM competition is inviting people to make a 60-second Podcast about what they are doing for Seaweek. It must include this year’s "fish for the future" theme. Entries must be received at Coromandel FM by 4pm, Friday 12 March.